Going into the season, Zach Ertz was being drafted and recommended as a mid-level starting fantasy football tight end. In week one, he went down with a rib injury after posting six receptions and 58 yards. Now he returns as the Eagles travel to Detroit to take on the Lions in what promises to be a shootout for the Eagles, and he should be slotted directly into your lineup so you can take advantage of the feasting he will do Sunday.
First, it would probably be prudent to remind you of the Zach Ertz that you drafted back in August. Down the stretch last season, Ertz averaged 112 receiving yards a game on 12 targets. When you were drafting Ertz, you were drafting that role and opportunity. Granted, that was with Chip Kelly’s tight end-friendly scheme, but Doug Pederson is an Andy Reid disciple, so his offensive schemes also know how to emphasize the position, as well.
While Brent Celek is a blocking tight end, Trey Burton stepped into the Ertz role when they took on a tight end friendly team in Chicago, catching five-of-seven targets for 49 yards and a touchdown. While he was not a factor as they took on the Steelers, he did still get six targets. His thirteen targets over two games put him at a higher per-game target figure than Jimmy Graham and Eric Ebron. Now those targets are going back to Ertz, who is a much better player. He will be the tight end we all hoped he would be going forward.
His first matchup as he returns from injury is a Lions team that will allow him to jump back into production with both feet. So far on the season, five different tight ends have scored at least one touchdown on Detroit, and with tight ends, the six points (plus the ten yards or so) are what you are looking for for the floor on a TE1. As Ertz returns to go against a team that has given up at least that to five different TEs in four weeks, it is a good bet that he will hit that floor, even if it is his first action since week one. Ertz likely won’t have a huge ceiling, since it is seemingly a breakdown in red zone defense, not the overall defense that leads to tight end production. The yardage from tight ends haven’t been there for the Lions’ opponents; only Delanie Walker has gone over 55 yards so far this season. Ertz will be in line for a high floor, low ceiling day on Sunday.